Just 45 minutes into the race, the team was involved in on-track contact and had to take the car behind-the-wall for wishbone repairs.
Following a strong start to the weekend, the No. 42 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan LM P2, finished 19th in today’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway. Behind the wheel were Brit Alex Brundle and Gustavo Yacaman of Colombia. Just 45 minutes into the race, the team was involved in on-track contact and had to take the car behind-the-wall for wishbone repairs.
The team was able to fix the car and it returned to the track seven laps down. The two-hour timed race, part of a double-header weekend, was reserved for the Prototype and GTLM cars. This was the first time the No. 42 car, which qualified fourth, had competed at the legendary course
“Gustavo made a fantastic start coming from P4 and ending up P2 after the first braking,” said Pierre-Alain Bouhet, Team Manager. “He was obviously faster than the No. 90 Corvette. He tried to pass him several times in the first 15 laps, but the No. 90 car toughly defended his position. After that, we asked Gustavo to stay back because we could see it would have ended up badly and he had to save the tires. At that point, we moved back to P3. We decided to pit early, put Alex in the car on new rubber tires, to try to overtake everyone in the pit.
It was actually a good call, as we exited virtually second and fought for P1 with No. 90 again. Alex made a great move on Turn 5, but got pushed away, which caused him to lose two positions. Following our crash, we had damage to the front end of the car and also the suspension. The crew did a fantastic job to repair it quickly and go back on track, losing only seven laps. The main goal at that point was to last until the end of the race and score as many points as possible for the championship.”
Yacaman took to the Morgan-Nissan first and created quite the show from the beginning. He was able to pass along the outside of the track to move from fourth to second on the very first lap.
“I had a great start to the race gaining those positions,” said Yacaman. “I think it would have been even better had I gotten a good jump on the start, but I was able to make up a lot of time on braking. I felt good about the way my stint went, but it was just impossible to get around the DP cars. I had to stay behind the leader or else it felt like we would both wreck out of the race. The race was long, but I know we have a good team and could have passed someone in the pits. What happened to Alex (Brundle), could have happened to me also. It is frustrating when you’re racing someone and they’re blocking you and running you off the road. It’s a shame the race ended the way it did. We had a really strong car and definitely could have been contenders for the win. Life goes on and we will keep on racing.”
Despite having little track time, Brundle was able to adapt to the 2.238-mile circuit. Throughout the weekend, he set the quickest time in both practice sessions, as well as during the race. He got in the car for his stint 35 minutes into the Monterey GP. Only ten minutes later, he encountered contact with another car.
“Gustavo (Yacaman) put in a good start during the race,” said Brundle. “We were racing all the way through with some DPs at the front. When I got in the car, I made a move on the inside of one of the DP competitors, who put me in the dirt in the braking zone. There was absolutely no chance that I would be able to stop on the dirt after being pushed off the track. I went straight into some competitors in front of me, which was a real shame. We managed to fix the car and continue to pick up some points, which was a good salvage from a very bad situation. Hopefully we can pick ourselves up and move onto the next race.”
The winners of today’s race were Brown/van Overbeek in the No. 2 HPD ARX-03B, followed by R. Taylor/J. Taylor in the No. 10 Corvette DP in second and Pruett/Rojas in the No. 01 Ford Ecoboost/Riley in third.
OAK Racing will move onto The Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit next, which takes place May 30-31.